I opened my eyes to the sun bright and warm but not unbearably hot. Clouds drifted around it, as if they were butterflies hovering and playing with their favorite flower. Pretty, white, fluffy clouds. Leisure clouds.
The sky seemed so blue I didn’t think I’d ever seen another like it. A pure and wholesome blue. The sort small children color it as. The blue the sky should be but rarely is.
I discovered I was lying on my back, looking up at this so blue sky. I worked my elbows up behind me, propping my torso up. I was dressed in black. An airy, soft, cotton dress that laid its hem at my ankles, was cinched at my waist, and covered my torso up to my throat where it was tied behind my neck in imitation of a choker necklace. I felt the wind, warm and dry, brush my bare back. The back of the dress left my scars and tattoo exposed but covered my sides and front fully. I liked the sleeves. They covered my arms from shoulders to wrists, cinched at my wrists, like thickened little cuffs that kept the sleeves in place since the rest of the material seemed breezy and loose. And despite the red dirt and dust skipping up in the wind, none of it seemed to touch the black of the dress.
I got to my feet slowly, feeling a little off my equilibrium but more stable than if I were drunk. Then I stopped moving completely. I was in the middle of a canyon. A very deep, very big, very empty canyon. Too big to be a ravine, too long to be a gorge. From cliff to cliff the empty distance was breathtaking. Red and black dirt and rock were everywhere, rusted powder flipped up into the wind and swung around, licking the air, reaching for the blue of that sky. And I was standing on a flat though relatively small plateau, the smoothed over top of a giant boulder of sorts, one that seemed to be either only one of many or one section of a giant elongated stone, like a lone tower in the middle of nothing.
There was no way off of it and there was no one around. I was stranded, and very, very alone.
Is this where I die?
“Or am I already dead?” I asked the wind as it lifted my hair with unseen fingers and tickled my neck.
My voice bounced back at me from the cavernous eroded earth around me. It was the echo of a shadow.
“Maybe you are my answer,” I whispered. Maybe I’d died and this was the hell I’d carved out for myself in life. This lonely, trapped place. No freedom, no possibility of escape. The freest space I could possibly be in yet the most permanent cage I’ve ever stood in. And the only company I was allowed was my empty voice thrown back to me.